Extant is here - and so is Amazon Prime Instant Video
Netflix may be the first name on the lips of streaming fans everywhere, but they have a might challenger who is taking strides to be the number one video streaming service in the UK.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Extant premiere being held by Amazon at BAFTA in London.
Amazon Prime Instant Video is available via Amazon.co.uk, as you’d expect. But if you’re thinking that it’s merely a side show to Amazon’s main business of shipping goods out via their online shop, you’d be mistaken. Before the screening of Extant started, we were given a brief rundown of the service by an Amazon rep and a robot (no, honestly!). What the robot lacked in smooth delivery of the pre-written banter, it made up for by looking like it was ready to kill at any moment. Even when they turned him off, he stood to one side of the giant cinema screen, illuminated only by the action on screen, and even then he terrified me.
His real-life human co-presenter however, was far less scary. Armed with facts about the Amazon Prime Instant Video service, he explained that they had recently consolidated their efforts and made significant strides forward with their offering.
For example, did you know that Amazon offer a wider range of films and tv programs that Netflix in the UK? Or that for £79 per year, Amazon Prime is not only £5 cheaper than Netflix, but it also gives you free next day delivery on loads of items from Amazon?
Not only that but Amazon have signed up exclusive content. Not only is there Extant (more on that soon, I promise), but their Children tv exclusives, Creative Galaxy and Tumble Leaf have proved incredibly popular, only being held off of the top of the Most Viewed chart by the well establish Peppa Pig.
More good news came when they revealed that after the BBC had turned down the opportunity to record a new series of Ripper Street, Amazon stepped in and have exclusive rights for a brand new series set to air later this year.
All in all, it’s a fantastic offering. I’m a Prime customer already, so for me it’s all an added bonus, but I have to admit that if I was forced to choose between Netflix and Amazon, I’d probably choose the latter. Although I’ve had (and enjoyed) Netflix for a couple of years (especially when you use this cheeky trick to get more films!), the opportunity to get quick free delivery from Amazon saves me a fortune when buying online, and the fact that their video offering is so impressive makes it an easy choice.
Sorry. Got sidetracked there. The point of this post was to touch on Extant.
I like sci-fi. The twists and turns offered by a script set in the future intrigues me. Space has always been an interest too, so naturally Extant, which details the story of Molly (played by Halle Berry), an astronaut who has returned from 13 months alone in space in a futuristic year which is never mentioned, appeals from the get go.
When you add in the fact that she has been unable to conceive with her husband, and that their son is, in fact, a robot, your interest is piqued. When you quickly find out that despite being alone in space for over a year Molly has returned to earth pregnant, you are suddenly completely immersed in the storyline.
The production values are extremely high, and it is evident that the series has some serious backing. Being shown on CBS in America, it’s Berry’s first tv role this side of the Millennium, and also brings in Steven Spielberg to really drive home the no-expense-spared message.
So is it any good?
Yes. I enjoyed it. I’m not the best at sitting down and giving something my full concentration. Visits to the cinema are normally judged as much on bum-numbness as they are on the quality of the film. Simply put, if I’m halfway through a movie and am worrying about the lack of feeling in my butt cheeks, or the cramp that is rapidly creeping throughout my body, the film hasn’t been good enough to keep me locked in and entertained.
The 41 minute show time of the episode felt longer, but not in a bad way. Although you can tell that the first episode is laying out boundaries and starting story arcs for later in the season, it does well enough, with a couple of twists and turns, to keep you entertained and interested.
It’s impossible to judge a series based on the first episode (not that it’s going to stop me from doing so), but this has the potential to be massive.
You can, which gives you full access to all of the features. As I say in the YouTube clip, it’s worth giving a go.